i love not camping

Not campingThis week will be a quiet week. A quiet week sounds really good. Gordon and Deborah have gone camping. Rachael isn't here and Hannah is laying low. Camping. Oh the bliss of not being there! I have camped myself into a hope-to-never-camp-again mode. 

We are old fashioned campers. We don't have a camper or recreational vehicle of any kind. We use good old fashioned tents and sleeping bags. For years, we camped every summer simply because it was all we could afford. Those were good times and I've lots of great memories.

When Deborah was a newborn, 6 days old having arrived by c-section, we went camping. Yes, that is admirable. Perhaps slightly stupid, it illustrates my devotion to family camping trips.

My family camping
                                  2004, Pembina River

Before my hysterectomy, we went camping in Saskatchewan for what was supposed to be 12 days. My medical needs dictated we come home on day eight. In the emergency room, I told the doctor of the last eight days in Saskatchewan. He said, "Well, thankfully you weren't camping." Oh, but I was. It was slightly on the hellish side of life.

Three years ago we started camping with our friends, the Loszchuks. Wonderful people. (Gordon and Tom are best friends and can talk for hours about the boringest stuff ever.) Although they are old fashioned campers too, (tents and sleeping bags), they take camping more seriously than I. Christine is a great cook and loves cooking. I am a mediocre cook and derive little satisfaction in the exercise. Camping is about relaxing and relaxing to me means little cooking. Breakfast is cereal, muffins, or fruit. Your

Grilled chicken potatoes and carrots and canteloupe

Greig Lake Saskatchewan, 2005

choice. Lunch is sandwiches, chips, and fruit. Supper may be hot dogs, hamburgers or chili that I made at home. Considered a splurge of exertion, I make one "good" meal and it's simple too; chicken, potatoes, corn-on-the-cob and cantaloupe. Simple, simple, simple. It's all about being simple. If it's not simple, it's too much work.

Christine is my polar opposite. She loves to cook, remember? They bring so many food items they require two vehicles, one hauling mostly food. She makes spaghetti over a campfire. And veal cutlets. She makes bacon, eggs and hash browns for breakfast. She makes a full meal for lunch. Do you think my family wants cereal when there's bacon and eggs next door? Or sandwiches when Christine is frying up a fish? They don't. They end up eating over there and I look like the mom who doesn't feed her family. So I go help Christine cook to keep from looking like a louse. I hate every second of it.

Campsite 2
                                          Aspen Beach, 2006

Remember, I don't enjoy cooking and it is work for me. Camping is about relaxation. Again I say it, Christine loves to cook. She cooks all day and my family loves to eat her cooking. To save face, I end up at their fire cooking with Christine. It's exhausting. Not just the cooking but the mental anguish of keeping up with her and pretending to enjoy it. Terrifically exhausting. I'd rather sleep, read, explore, almost anything, rather than cook.

That's when camping became too laborious for me. This is my second year of not going camping. Quite frankly, I'm loving it.


for pabob

D's fish 1 These are the last pictures I'll share from our camping trip to Little Bow. Pabob is the fisherman in my family, so these are especially for him.

Click on the pictures to get a closer look at Deborah's face. So sweet.

Deborah reeling in her first fish.

Debs' fish 3



2)  Getting help from Uncle Tom.

D's fish 2


3) She's not exactly comfortable touching it. {Smiles}

camping at little bow

Not our campsite
Unfortunately, this is not our way of camping.


Humble as it is, our camping looks more like this. We met our friends the Loszchuks and enjoyed another good camping trip with them.

Bike ride at sunset


Taken on my bike ride at sunset.



Jerrod, deborah, uncle tom and d's fish

Jerrod and Uncle Tom took Deborah fishing with them. She caught this fish, a walleye, I think, but she didn't want to hold it for the picture.

Debs' fish

After a little coercion, she agreed to hold up its fin. Tom cooked it in beer and it was delicious.



Debs bd cake

Deborah turned 11 while we were there.

Our little trek to the swimmin' hole


Our little trek to the lake.

V & d swimming

Deborah and me, swimming in what felt like glacier water. Fortunately by afternoon it was much warmer.

Little bow lake in the distance

Our lake is way in the distance. See it? I loved this view.

My beautiful alberta

When I first moved to the prairies, I felt exposed and vulnerable. The terrain made me feel lonely. Now I love my beautiful Alberta.

2010 family holidays are going to be pretty skimpy this year. Gordon and the girls will probably go camping again in August. I have a newer job and can't get any more time off. Especially since I already called in all my negotiating resources to get time off for a trip to Arkansas in September.

I have three, maybe four, more dragon boat festivals this summer. It will continue to be a good summer even though our holidays will be on the lean side.


canoeing mishap

First off, this is not me in this picture. However, when I saw it I was instantly reminded when something similar, perhaps worse, happened to me.

We were camping in Saskatchewan. We had a lovely beach. Sunsets were idyllic, somewhere between romantic and spiritual. The setting was amazing.

Gordon rented a canoe. I anticipated our family canoe trip around the lake at sunset.
Finally sunset was upon us just as Gordon pulled the canoe to shore for us to board. After all the girls were clad in the life jackets, Gordon got them situated just so, making strides to distribute the weight proportionately. Problem 1: There ain't no way the weight distributes evenly in this family.
After the girls was seated safely, Gordon took his place. At the time I wondered why he sat before me, but now I realize it was the continuation of the aforementioned effort to distribute the weight. Reminder: There ain't no way the weight distributes evenly in this family.
With camera strapped around my neck -- important to capture this special event in photo -- I walked toward the place Gordon instructed me to take. The girls smiled lovingly; their moods were appropriately set for this spiritual moment of canoeing as a family on a calm lake at sunset. I lumbered awkwardly into the canoe. It rocked precariously. Gordon looked pensive, the girls were wide-eyed. When Gordon gave me the go-ahead, I sat down. That was problem 2. The canoe sank to the bottom of the lake and everyone leaped up yelling, "MOM."
Canoeing Greig Lake I lost all presence of mind. I sat there waiting for the canoe to buoy, to rise back to the surface. Of course at this point the canoe is not just burdened with me, it is also holding a hefty amount of lake water. As the kids yelled at me, I regained presence of mind and realized the boat was not going to rise to the surface.
Again I lumbered awkwardly, this time out of the boat, now fully aware of what had just happened. Gordon tipped the canoe over to empty the water and then the family reloaded the canoe and went for a ride in the sunset. I took pictures from the shore.
(Greig Lake, Saskatchewan, 2005)

home from camping

We just returned from our first camping trip for the summer. We went about an 1 1/2 hours out of the city. Good friends from Calgary met us on the second day of our stay and we had a great time camping side by side. Our kids played gloriously well together; the weather was beautiful; the campsite was wonderful; the beach was lovely and clean. Other than one drenching wet night, it was perfect -- and even rain seems kind of cool when it breaks the routine and the heat.

We had great meals and we adults had stimulating conversations while the kids played. Admittedly, Gordon and Tom are MUCH bigger talkers than Christine or me, so she and I had to endure lots of conversation that was slightly on the boring side. But, I knocked off two novels as they talked, and that was fun for me.

On the beach, I watched as obese woman after obese woman walked by me in swimming suits that didn't hide anything. After a while, I lost the battle with politeness. I whispered, "You know, I may not have a great body, but I thank God I have the good sense to keep it covered."

Tom, whom I've never heard talk like this, added: "It's nasty. It should be illegal."

This trip stressed Lucy out. She badly misbehaved on several occasions. Tom and Christine had their Pomeranian with them and she got to run loose. People are much more tolerant of a wee dog being off-leash than they are with a Lucy-sized dog being off-leash. I kept her on her leash. Lucy felt the injustice. She did a number of things that were totally out of character for her.

Among other things, she didn't listen well when we told her to be quiet. Once when Lucy was not obeying, Gordon decided to speak for her, something the rest of us do on a regular basis. After I said, "Lucy sit, LUCY SIT," four or five times, Gordon said, as if speaking for Lucy, "I could be a police dog, I just don't have a natural inclination."

On the night of the big rain, I was sitting around the fire-pit cooking chicken breasts, corn-on-the-cob, and roasted potatoes. Drenched, but carrying on, Gordon said, "You look like your spirits have been slightly dampened."

camping 2006

We just returned from a camping trip. When we left the city, our van was burgeoning with camping supplies for the week. We were a sight, I am sure. The top of the van carried supplies; the bikes rode precariously on the bike rack; one seat of the van was removed and replaced to full capacity with our week's livelihood. Lucy, green with motion sickness, was on my lap hanging out the window, her long ears blowing in the wind. We were only a few steps behind the Beverly Hillbillies.

As Lucy's Dramamine took over, her need for fresh air was replaced with a need for a snooze. She clamored off my lap, and with much effort found a sleeping spot under the girls' feet. Once she was settled, Gordon looked over at my side of the van which wore a furry film. He took it in for a few moments and then groaned, "Seeing all that fur gives me a soft spot for plants."